In two words “sort of”.
The Pension Play Pen lunch consisting of Henry Tapper, David Taylor, Simon Kew, Derek Benstead and Mark Scantlebury came to the following conclusions.
That Hutton’s original recommendation that reforms should be based on a targeted income for Local Goverment Pension Reforms (LGPS) members, had been totally ignored.
That Hutton’s recommendations that once out of Local Government employment, former employees should leave active service of LGPS, had been totally ignored.
That the Unions had succeeded in securing comparable benefits of LGPS members.
That the Treasury, through its single-minded pursuit of higher member contributions could walk away from negotiations claiming a victory in terms of short-term cashflow planning.
That the 50:50 deal was a good deal which would encourage many not in LGPS to join rather than see many contributing to the full “dumbing down”.
However, the Play Pen would be interested in whether auto-enrolment will be at 49ths CARE or 98ths CARE.
At some stage in the meeting, Mark Scantlebury had a “Road to Damascus” moment and realised the value of collective unfunded pensions.
David Taylor rued the missed opportunity to make some proper cutbacks in pension entitlements while the Government had had the chance.
Derek Benstead spoke with great eloquence and clarity on the nature of the settlement.
Simon Kew had a bowl of soup.
The Play Pen explored the detail of the settlement , as laid out here http://www.lgps.org.uk/lge/core/page.do?pageId=15431012
It concluded that the comparison between old and new LGPS were sufficiently obscure as to be beyond the interest or analytic capacity of most LGPS members, indeed several at the table struggled to understand the “overview” laid out on the web link.
In as much as both the Unions and the Government are claiming that these changes are an advance, while the membership remain oblivious of their impact and import, it could be said that the process that began so promisingly with the Hutton report has failed to achieve any radical change either to the taxpayer or the members. Perhaps its most radical impact will be on the mobility of employees under TUPE who will now get increased protection from LGPS- precisely the opposite of Hutton’s original intention.
The Play Pen, after filling their bellies departed for work. That only 5 of its 2020 members attended may be a reflection on the state of the public sector pension debate. It may rather be a reflection of the reluctance of City types to leave their offices when it rains, when there’s football later and after most people have taken a week off – the week before.
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